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Maryland Gov. Hogan extends executive order prohibiting utility providers from cutting off residential service, charging late fees

Utility providers may not cut off residents’ gas, phone, water, cable or internet or charge late fees for overdue payments until Aug. 1, following an extension of a coronavirus-related executive order by Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday.

The extended order is among several actions taken by Hogan, a Republican, to stem the spread of COVID-19, the most significant of which was a stay-at-home order announced in March.

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“No electric, gas, sewage disposal, telegraph, telephone, water, or cable television company, or internet service provider, or any company providing a combination of such services (a “Residential Service Company”), shall terminate the service of a customer if the service is used, in whole or in part, in a dwelling unit or residence,” Hogan’s extended utility order says.

“A Residential Service Company shall not bill or collect, on an account that serves a dwelling unit or residence, any fee or charge imposed for a late or otherwise untimely payment that becomes due from the date of this Order.”

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The order lasts until Aug. 1, “except as may be rescinded, superseded, amended, or revised by additional orders.”

Utility provider Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. proposed last month to freeze customers’ base rates for delivery for the next two years, then raise them by 8.3% in 2023 — what amounts to a $12.87 increase on the average customer’s monthly bill.

The three-year plan, filed May 15 with the Maryland Public Service Commission, is designed to provide economic relief to utility customers during the coronavirus pandemic while allowing the utility company to invest $5 billion in its electric grid and natural gas system, according to BGE CEO Carim Khouzami.

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